Publication Date: 04/11/2021 ISBN: 9780571369003 Category:

Why Karen Carpenter Matters

Karen Tongson

Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 04/11/2021 ISBN: 9780571369003 Category:
Paperback / Softback

£8.99

Quantity:

Description

A PITCHFORK MUSIC BOOK OF THE YEAR

A radical, literary and intimate insight into one of the twentieth century’s most vital vocalists.

‘Tongson serves up a number of astute observations about fantasy, projection, longing, normalcy, and aberrance.’
MAGGIE NELSON

‘Deftly weaves memoir, history, and cultural criticism to highlight the dynamic relationship between artists and listeners.’
PITCHFORK

In the ’60s and ’70s, America’s music scene was marked by raucous excess, reflected in the tragic overdoses of young superstars such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. At the same time, the uplifting harmonies and sunny lyrics that propelled Karen Carpenter and her brother, Richard, to international fame belied a different sort of tragedy – the underconsumption that led to Karen’s death at age thirty-two from the effects of an eating disorder.

In Why Karen Carpenter Matters, Karen Tongson (whose parents named her after the pop icon) interweaves the story of the singer’s rise to fame in the 1960s and ’70s with her own trans-Pacific journey between the Philippines – where imitations of American pop styles flourished – and Karen Carpenter’s home ground of Southern California. Tongson reveals why the Carpenters’ chart-topping, seemingly white-washed musical fantasies of ‘normal love’ have profound significance for her – as well as for other people of colour, LGBT+ communities, and anyone outside the mainstream culture usually associated with Karen Carpenter’s legacy.

This hybrid of memoir and biography excavates the destructive perfectionism at the root of the Carpenters’ sound, while finding the beauty in the singer’s all-too-brief life.

‘Engrossing . . . a triumphant delight.’ 4COLUMNS
‘Heartfelt . . . excellent . . . breathtaking.’ EXCLAIM!
‘Will resonate with readers who have never even heard of Carpenter.’ LITERARY HUB

MUSIC MATTERS: SHORT BOOKS ABOUT THE ARTISTS WE LOVE
– Why Solange Matters by Stephanie Phillips
– Why Marianne Faithfull Matters by Tanya Pearson
– Why Karen Carpenter Matters by Karen Tongson

Find this book on the following lists

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations

  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible